The Dragon Lantern: A League of Seven Novel

Written by Alan Gratz
Review by Traci Cothran

This is an action-packed race in an alternate, steampunk America of 1875, and it’s full of fun ideas. Archie, Fergus, and Hachi comprise part of the fabled League of Seven – seven heroes who will fight the very terrifying and evil Mangleborn beasts. In this second book in this middle grade series (readers needn’t start with the first book), Hachi wants to find out who slaughtered her father along with 99 other men years before, and Archie is keen to understand his roots (does a super-strong boy made of stone have a pedigree?). To get answers, they must get their hands on the magical Dragon Lantern, which means tracking down the crafty, shape-shifting, wolf-eared girl who’s stolen it. Along the way, they’ll make use of a building-sized metal steam “man” (the descriptions of its innards are fascinating!), board a huge floating city, and come across a human-like robot outlaw named Jesse James, whose mission is to free all robots from human oppression. There are some juicy twists along the way, as well as colorful details of historical places and figures that have been drastically altered (Alcatraz, General Custer). It’s an imaginative and wild ride, and the ending will definitely leave you wanting more.